Trump versus Hillary

A Summation

by Paul Craig Roberts

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org (August 25 2016)

Note: I just heard a National Public Radio (“NPR”) report that young people were deserting the Republican Party, had turned leftwing and were flocking to Hillary. So now in America the leftwing candidate is a warmonger and agent of Wall Street! Amazing.

The US presidential election this November will tell whether a majority of the US population is irredeemably stupid. If voters elect Hillary, we will know that Americans are stupid beyond redemption.

We don’t know much about Trump, and anti-Trump propaganda rules in the place of facts.

But we know many facts about Hillary. We know about her violation of classification laws and the refusal of the Democratic administration to do anything about it. The Democrats prefer to control the White House than to enforce the law, another nail in the coffin in which the rule of law in the US lies.

We know from their words and deeds and material success that the Clintons are agents for Wall Street, the Big Banks, the military/security complex, Israel, agribusiness, and the extractive industries. Their large personal fortune, approximately $120 million, and the $1,600 million in their foundation, much of which came from abroad in exchange for political favors, attests to the unchallengable fact that the Clintons are agents for the oligarchy that rules America, indeed, that rules the American Empire from Australia and Japan, through North America and Western and Eastern Europe to the Russian border.

We know that Hillary, like Bill, is a liar.

We know that Hillary is a warmonger.

We know that Hillary made the most irresponsible statement ever uttered by a presidential candidate when she declared the President of Russia to be the “new Hitler”, thereby raising tensions between the nuclear powers to a higher level than existed during the Cold War.

We know that Hillary is allied with the neoconservatives and that her belief in the neocons’ ideology of US world hegemony is likely to result in war with Russia and China.

All we know about Trump is that the oligarchs, who sent America’s jobs overseas, who flooded the country with difficult-to-assimilate immigrants, who destroyed public education, who bailed out Wall Street and the “banks too big to fail”, who sacrificed American homeowners and retirees living on a fixed income, who intend to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, who have given the public killer cops, relentless violations of privacy, the largest prison poplulation in the world, and destroyed the US Constitution in order to increase executive power over the American people, are violently opposed to Trump. This opposition should tell us that Trump is the person we want in the Oval Office.

Some claim that it is all a charade and that Trump is playing a role in order to elect Hillary. American politics are so corrupt that anything is possible. However the ruling elites and their puppets seem to be genuinely concerned about Trump’s challenge to their control, and they have united against Trump. They have used their money to buy up “progressive” websites paid to bring the print and TV anti-Trump propaganda onto the Internet, thus joining the Internet presstitutes with the print, TV, and NPR whores who are working overtime to demonize Trump and to elect Hillary.

The entire power structure of our country is behind Hillary. Both Democratic and Republican political establishments and both ideologies, neoliberals and neoconservatives, are united behind Hillary.

How much more evidence do Americans need in order to know that a vote for Hillary is a vote for their own emasculation?

Apparently, Americans remain captives of their insouciance. According to news reports, a majority of voters still haven’t a clue about the consequences of voting for Hillary. Polls report that Hillary is well in the lead. Are these real polls or just another presstitute lie to discourage Trump supporters? Why vote when they have already lost?

The propaganda assault against Trump, vicious as it was, did not succeed during the Republican primary. Despite the media condemnation of Trump, he swept the other Republican candidates aside effortlessly.

The current media demonization of Trump might fail as well. Indeed, it is so transparent that it could elect him.

All that is required is for enough Americans to awake from their insouciance to recognize that it is the enemies of their own lives, their own living standards, and their own liberty who are violently opposed to Trump.

If Americans cannot reach this realization, they have no future, and neither does the planet Earth.

The ruling oligarchy hates Trump because he disavows war with Russia, questions the purpose of Nato, opposes the offshoring of Americans’ jobs, and opposes the uncontrolled immigration that is transforming the United States into a multi-cultural entity devoid of unity. The oligarchs are replacing the United States with a Tower of Babel. Oligarchic power grows exponentially among the disunity of diversity.

In other words, Trump is for America and for Americans.

This is why the oligarchs and their whores hate Trump.

The imbecillic Americans who vote for Hillary are voting for war and their own immiseration.

Possibly, a vote for Trump is the same. However, in the case of Trump we do not know that. In the case of Hillary we most certainly do know it.

Of course, it could matter not how Americans vote. Those who program the electronic voting machines will determine the vote, and as the establishments of both political parties totally oppose Trump, the programmed machines can elect Hillary. We know this from our electoral history. The US has already experienced elections in which exit polls show a winning candidate different from the candidate selected by the electronic machines that have no paper trail and no way of affirming the vote.

If Hillary gets into the Oval Office, nuclear war is likely before her first term is over. A vote for Hillary is a vote for nuclear war.

If you look at the forthcoming election realistically, you have no alternative but to conclude that the entirety of the presstitute media and American Establishment prefers the risk of nuclear war to the risk of losing control of the government to the voters.

That Americans permitted the rise of unaccountable power tells us all we need to know about the dereliction of duty of which United States citizens are guilty. The American people failed democracy, which requires accountable government. The American government has proven that it is not accountable to the US Constitution, to US statutory law, to international law, or to voters.

If the result of Americans’ dereliction of duty is nuclear war, the American people will be responsible for the death of planet Earth. One would hope that with responsibility this great on their shoulders, the American people will reject the unequivocal war candidate and take their chances on holding Trump accountable to his words.

Copyright (c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/08/25/trump-vs-hillary-a-summation-paul-craig-roberts/

Categories: Uncategorized

Hit the ATM

The Ankara-Tehran-Moscow Coalition

by Pepe Escobar

RT.com | Op-Edge (August 25 2016)

So Turkish President, aka Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is about to make a high-profile visit to Tehran – the date has not yet been set – to essentially kick start the ATM (Ankara-Tehran-Moscow) coalition in Syria.

Anyone as much as hinting at such a massive geopolitical tectonic shift a few weeks ago would be branded a madman. So how did the impossible happen?

A major strategic game-changer – Russia using an airfield in Iran to send bombers against jihadis in Syria – had already taken place, with its aftermath spectacularly misreported by the usual, clueless US corporate media suspects.

Then, there’s what Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, said last Saturday in Istanbul: “The most important priority for us is to stop the bloodshed [in Syria] as soon as possible”. The rest are irrelevant “details”.

Yildirim added Ankara now agrees with Moscow that Bashar al-Assad “could” – and that’s the operative word – stay in power during a political transition (although that’s still highly debatable). Ankara’s drive to normalize relations with Moscow had an ‘important share’ in this ‘policy shift’.

The ‘policy shift’ is a direct consequence of the failed military coup in Turkey. Russian cyber-surveillance aces – in action 24/7 after the downing of the Su-24 last November – reportedly informed Turkish intelligence a few hours before the fact. Nato, as the record shows, was mum.

Even minimalist optics suggests ‘Sultan’ Erdogan was extremely upset that Washington was not exactly displeased with the coup. He knows how vast swathes of the Beltway despise him – blaming him for not being serious in the fight against ISIS and for bombing the YPG Kurds – Pentagon allies – in Syria. The record does show Erdogan has mostly ignored ISIS – allowing non-stop free border crossing for ISIS goons as well as letting Turkish business interests (if not his own family) profit from ISIS’ stolen Syrian oil.

Compared to Washington’s attitude Moscow, on the other hand, warning Erdogan about serious, concrete facts on the ground in the nick of time. And for Erdogan, that was highly personal; the putschists reportedly sent a commando to kill him when he was still in Marmaris.

Fast forward to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif’s surprise visit two weeks ago to Ankara. Zarif and his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu did discuss serious options by which the budding ATM coalition could come up with a viable exit strategy in Syria. One week later Cavusoglu went to Tehran and talked again to Zarif for five hours.

It’s an uphill battle – but doable. Tehran knows very well Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (“IRGC”) officers as well as Hezbollah, Iraqi and Afghan fighters were killed in the Syrian war theater, and that shall not be in vain. Ankara for its part knows it cannot afford to remain forever trapped in an ideological dead end.

Rojava, Where and for Whom?

And then there’s the rub – the intractable Kurdish question. Iran, unlike Turkey, does not face active Kurdish separatism. A minimum understanding between Ankara and Tehran – central to the current flurry of meetings, face-to-face and ‘secret’, via mediators, necessarily points toward a united, centralized Syria.

That implies no Rojava – a possible independent Kurdish mini-state alongside the Turkish border, part of a not so hidden Washington/Tel Aviv balkanization agenda. Actually what is now in effect official Pentagon policy contains a mob element of Ash “Empire of Whining” Carter’s revenge on Sultan Erdogan; payback because Erdogan did not do enough to smash ISIS.

And that brings us to the current Turkish offensive – for all practical purposes invasion – of Jarabulus. That’s the last fort – as in the last town that allows ISIS back and forth from southern Turkey to Raqqa in terms of smuggling goons and weapons.

Ankara would never allow the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (“SDF”) take Jarabulus. After all, the SDF – fully supported by the Pentagon – is led by the Kurdish nationalist YPG, which Ankara sees as a mere extension of PKK separatists.

Imagine Ankara’s terror at the YPG seizing Jarabulus. They would have crossed the ultimate Turkish red line; closing the gap between two Kurdish cantons across the border and for all practical purposes giving birth to the Rojava Kurdish mini-state.

Yet even if for Ankara an independent Rojava remains the supreme red line, there are declinations. A Rojava might come as quite handy if it became a dumping ground for Turkish PKK fighters. Arguably the PKK would not complain; after all they would have “their” state.

No one seems to be considering what Damascus thinks about all this.

And no one, for the moment, has a clue about the precise geography of a putative Rojava. If it includes, for instance, the recently liberated city of Manbij, that’s a major problem; Manbij is Arab, not Kurd. Kurds once again seem to be thrown into disarray – forced to choose whether they are allied with Washington or with Moscow.

Moscow, for its part, is crystal clear on ISIS. It is dead set on smashing for good, by all means necessary, any militants who consider Russia their enemy.

Erdogan certainly calculated that a rapprochement with Russia had to include being serious against ISIS. Extra incentive was added by the fact the bombing this past Sunday in Gaziantep was most certainly an ISIS job.

So Erdogan’s Syria master plan now boils down to – what else – another wilderness of mirrors. By crossing to Jarabulus, Ankara wants to establish a sort of remnants of the Free Syria Army (FSA)-controlled enclave. The Americans can’t blame him because this will be against ISIS – even though it’s mostly against Rojava. And the Russians won’t make a fuss because Moscow is in favor of Syria’s unity.

Got ATM, Will Travel

Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, previously of “zero problems with our neighbors” then converted into “nothing but problems with our neighbors” is now history. Yildirim is a pragmatist. So the opening to Russia had to be inevitable.

And that leads us back to the – alleged – end of Team Obama’s obsession, “Assad must go”. He may stay, for a while. Yildirim has confirmed this is now Turkish official policy. Although that does not mean Ankara – and Washington for that matter – have given up on regime change. They will keep up the pressure – but tactics will change.

As it stands, the major fact on the ground is that ‘Sultan’ Erdogan seems to have had enough of the Americans (Nato of course included) and has pivoted to Russia.

Thus the sending of certified Keystone Cop Joe Biden to Ankara to plead “not guilty” on the military coup (forget it; most Turks don’t believe Washington) and to implore Erdogan not to pursue his massive purge (pure wishful thinking).

Considering Erdogan’s notoriously erratic record, his embrace of ATM may be just a gigantic illusion, or may open yet another unforeseen can of worms. But there are signs this may be for real.

Cavusoglu has already intimated that Ankara is aiming for a military/technological upgrade that is impossible under Nato’s watch. In his own words; “Unfortunately, we see countries in Nato are a bit hesitant when it comes to exchange of technology and joint investments”.

Moscow has every reason to be quite cautious regarding myriad aspects of Erdogan’s pivoting. After all the Turkish military has been part of Nato for decades. As it stands, there’s no evidence Moscow and Ankara are looking at the same post-war Syria. But if we’re talking about the future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (“SCO”), then it starts to get really interesting.

Turkey is already a “dialog partner” of the SCO, while Iran may become a full member as early as next year. Moscow is certainly envisioning Ankara as a valuable ally in the wider Sunni world, way beyond a role in repelling Salafi-jihadis in Syria. With Ankara and Tehran also talking serious business, this could eventually spill out into a serious debunking of the alleged apocalyptic Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian divide, which is the only Divide-and-Rule strategy spun and deployed non-stop by the US, Israel and the House of Saud.

It’s this enticing SCO-enhancing possibility that’s freaking Washington out big time. Russia pivoting East, Turkey pivoting East, Iran already there, and China now also actually involved in a stake in post-war Syria, that’s a geopolitical reconfiguration in Southwest Asia that once again spells out the inevitable; Eurasia integration.

_____

Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he’s been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of Globalistan (2007), Red Zone Blues (2007), Obama does Globalistan (2009), Empire of Chaos (2014), and 2030 (2015), all published by Nimble Books.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Read more:

* https://www.rt.com/op-edge/355661-russia-trust-turkey-erdogan/

* https://www.rt.com/op-edge/356489-turkey-russia-cooperation-us/

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/357205-turkey-erdogan-russia-iran-isis/

Categories: Uncategorized

Turkey’s Sensible Detente with Russia

Official Washington is so set on making Russia the new boogeyman that Turkish President Erdogan’s visit there is setting off alarms, but the easing of Moscow-Ankara tensions is really a positive sign.

by Graham E Fuller

Consortium News (August 17 2016)

Barely more than a few weeks after the failed coup in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan surprised the world by turning up for a meeting in Saint Petersburg with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Many observers in the West view the event darkly, as a sign that perhaps Erdogan is now making a strategic about-face to embrace Russia.

This meeting, while coming fast on the heels of the coup, does not really represent a great surprise and should not be viewed as some sinister new departure in Turkey’s strategic posture.

It’s important to remember that the foreign policy introduced in 2003 by Erdogan’s party, the AKP, already represented a major new departure in Turkey’s foreign policy orientation. Erdogan’s foreign policy guru, and later foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, proclaimed a new policy of ‘zero problems’ with neighbors.

Suddenly, and for the first time in the history of modern Turkey, Ankara decided to dramatically reverse its previously bad relations over fifty years with virtually all of its neighbors, and declared a desire to reach accommodation and resolve long-standing tensions with states where cold relations had previously existed. The new vision opened a huge new chapter for Turkey in international relations.

Washington, of course, was not pleased with these shifts since they entailed Turkey’s improving ties with countries and organizations which Washington had sought to weaken and isolate: Iran, Russia, Iraq, Syria, China, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Turkey further determined that US policies in the region were failing, unproductive, unrealistic, dangerous, and against the interests of Turkey  –  and perhaps of the region as a whole as Washington plunged into war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and military incursions into Pakistan and Somalia.

In my view as well Turkish assessments of US strategic errors and miscalculations were not far off the mark. Ankara famously denied the US military the right to invade Iraq from Turkish soil at the last minute in 2003.

Thus a decade ago we had already heard much discussion in the US press about whether Turkey had ‘gone off the reservation’, or had ceased to be a reliable ally of the US. Indeed, Ankara was no longer a ‘reliable ally’, which historically had meant that Ankara would follow the US lead in Middle East policy. No longer.

Ankara had truly set out on an independent path in keeping with its perceptions of its own interests, and those generally ran counter to what Washington wanted. That particularly included burgeoning strategic and economic ties with Russia.

Indeed, Turkey no longer considered itself to be uniquely a ‘Western power’ but also a Middle Eastern one, and went on to declare its historical, cultural, economic and strategic interests in the Caucasus, Eurasia, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and even newly expanding interests into Latin America.

These initiatives were accompanied at the time by an expansion of the Gulenist network of schools and commercial ties in all these areas as well, with the full blessing of the Turkish foreign ministry as representing a new source of Turkish soft power. At that time, overall Turkish relations with Washington were cool and Erdogan was disliked.

Creating Problems

But Turkey’s ‘zero problems with neighbors’ had represented a fresh and productive policy as Turkey became the sixteenth developing nation in the world with spreading interests. In 2013, Turkish airlines served more countries than any other airline in the world. Turkey entered the process of globalization and its economy boomed.

But Turkish foreign policy successes were to bite the dust with the onset of the Arab Spring, a phenomenon which no one foresaw and which no country handled well, including Washington or Ankara. Erdogan, long a mentor to Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, soon became obsessed with overthrowing him  –  the signal foreign policy error that Turkey committed.

Turkish involvement in the Syrian conflict led eventually to the unraveling of its good ties with virtually every neighbor, undoing the foreign policy gains of a decade.

So looking at the present situation we need to see it in the perspective of the events of the last decade. Turkey is not ‘drifting away from Washington’ as such  –  it had long since already done so. It is not now suddenly cozying up to Russia  –  it had already long done so. It was only the toxic character of the Syrian mess that had severely damaged Turkish relations with Moscow, culminating in the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian fighter aircraft on the Syrian-Turkish border. That is now being righted.

Following the failed putsch attempt against him on July 15, Erdogan has indeed found little warmth or support from the West. Indeed, there has long been little love for him in the West, even though all countries appropriately condemned the coup attempt as an unwelcome blow to the Turkish democratic order.

Whatever sympathy Erdogan might have won even then was largely weakened by his subsequent sweeping purges in the military, the judiciary, police, educational and financial system against any and all potential opposition to Erdogan from any quarter  –  not just Gulen, now reaching well over 60,000 people cashiered or arrested.

Erdogan is thus somewhat isolated in the West where he is viewed as mercurial, erratic, and seeking authoritarian powers at home. But his efforts to restore his damaged ties with Russia and the East does not represent a bold new break or a slap to the West, so much as a return to his original foreign policies of a decade ago.

Indeed, Erdogan is now moving to again mend the damage to nearly all Ankara’s foreign ties so heavily inflicted during Ankara’s Syrian adventure. This is not surprising, and from Erdogan’s point of view, eminently sensible. He seeks to shore up his basis of foreign support to the maximum degree on all fronts. But he is also highly unlikely to abandon Nato since it represents his key institutionalized relationship with the West.

After the disastrous state of Turkish-Russian relations over the past year or so, they had nowhere to go but up. Turkish ties with Russia are not unnatural, especially after the breakup of the Soviet Union. These ties center on energy, trade and tourism.

Russia is of major importance to Ankara. The two share many common interests from the Balkans, across the Middle East to the Caucasus and Central Asia. They may be partial rivals in the region, but stability benefits both.

Thus these developments do not represent a genuine new setback to the US in the region  –  unless one views America’s number-one interest in the region to be the exclusion of Russian influence at all cost. That is really old think  –  and quite unrealistic.

_____

Graham E Fuller is a former senior CIA official, author of numerous books on the Muslim World; his latest book is Breaking Faith: A novel of espionage and an American’s crisis of conscience in Pakistan (2015). grahamefuller.com

Turkey’s Sensible Détente with Russia

Categories: Uncategorized

Toward a Global Realignment

by Zbigniew Brzezinski

The American Interest (April 17 2016)

As its era of global dominance ends, the United States needs to take the lead in realigning the global power architecture.

Five basic verities regarding the emerging redistribution of global political power and the violent political awakening in the Middle East are signaling the coming of a new global realignment.

The first of these verities is that the United States is still the world’s politically, economically, and militarily most powerful entity but, given complex geopolitical shifts in regional balances, it is no longer the globally imperial power. But neither is any other major power.

The second verity is that Russia is experiencing the latest convulsive phase of its imperial devolution. A painful process, Russia is not fatally precluded – if it acts wisely – from becoming eventually a leading European nation-state. However, currently it is pointlessly alienating some of its former subjects in the Islamic southwest of its once extensive empire, as well as Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia, not to mention the Baltic States.

The third verity is that China is rising steadily, if more slowly as of late, as America’s eventual coequal and likely rival; but for the time being it is careful not to pose an outright challenge to America. Militarily, it seems to be seeking a breakthrough in a new generation of weapons while patiently enhancing its still very limited naval power.

The fourth verity is that Europe is not now and is not likely to become a global power. But it can play a constructive role in taking the lead in regard to transnational threats to global wellbeing and even human survival. Additionally, Europe is politically and culturally aligned with and supportive of core US interests in the Middle East, and European steadfastness within Nato is essential to an eventually constructive resolution of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The fifth verity is that the currently violent political awakening among post-colonial Muslims is, in part, a belated reaction to their occasionally brutal suppression mostly by European powers. It fuses a delayed but deeply felt sense of injustice with a religious motivation that is unifying large numbers of Muslims against the outside world; but at the same time, because of historic sectarian schisms within Islam that have nothing to do with the West, the recent welling up of historical grievances is also divisive within Islam.

Taken together as a unified framework, these five verities tell us that the United States must take the lead in realigning the global power architecture in such a way that the violence erupting within and occasionally projected beyond the Muslim world – and in the future possibly from other parts of what used to be called the Third World – can be contained without destroying the global order. We can sketch this new architecture by elaborating briefly each of the five foregoing verities.

First, America can only be effective in dealing with the current Middle Eastern violence if it forges a coalition that involves, in varying degrees, also Russia and China. To enable such a coalition to take shape, Russia must first be discouraged from its reliance on the unilateral use of force against its own neighbors – notably Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic States – and China should be disabused of the idea that selfish passivity in the face of the rising regional crisis in the Middle East will prove to be politically and economically rewarding to its ambitions in the global arena. These shortsighted policy impulses need to be channeled into a more farsighted vision.

Second, Russia is becoming for the first time in its history a truly national state, a development that is as momentous as it is generally overlooked. The Czarist Empire, with its multinational but largely politically passive population, came to an end with World War One and the Bolshevik creation of an allegedly voluntary union of national republics (the USSR), with power resting effectively in Russian hands, took its place. The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 led to the sudden emergence of a predominantly Russian state as its successor, and to the transformation of the former Soviet Union’s non-Russian “republics” into formally independent states. These states are now consolidating their independence, and both the West and China – in different areas and different ways – are exploiting that new reality to Russia’s disadvantage. In the meantime, Russia’s own future depends on its ability to become a major and influential nation-state that is part of a unifying Europe. Not to do so could have dramatically negative consequences for Russia’s ability to withstand growing territorial-demographic pressure from China, which is increasingly inclined as its power grows to recall the “unequal” treaties Moscow imposed on Beijing in times past.

Third, China’s dramatic economic success requires enduring patience and the country’s awareness that political haste will make for social waste. The best political prospect for China in the near future is to become America’s principal partner in containing global chaos of the sort that is spreading outward (including to the northeast) from the Middle East. If it is not contained, it will contaminate Russia’s southern and eastern territories as well as the western portions of China. Closer relations between China and the new republics in Central Asia, the post-British Muslim states in Southwest Asia (notably Pakistan) and especially with Iran (given its strategic assets and economic significance), are the natural targets of Chinese regional geopolitical outreach. But they should also be targets of global Sino-American accommodation.

Fourth, tolerable stability will not return to the Middle East as long as local armed military formations can calculate that they can be simultaneously the beneficiaries of a territorial realignment while selectively abetting extreme violence. Their ability to act in a savage manner can only be contained by increasingly effective – but also selective – pressure derived from a base of US-Russian-Chinese cooperation that, in turn, enhances the prospects for the responsible use of force by the region’s more established states (namely, Iran, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt). The latter should also be the recipients of more selective European support. Under normal circumstances, Saudi Arabia would be a significant player on that list, but the current inclination of the Saudi government still to foster Wahhabi fanaticism, even while engaged in ambitious domestic modernization efforts, raises grave doubts regarding Saudi Arabia’s ability to play a regionally significant constructive role.

Fifth, special attention should be focused on the non-Western world’s newly politically aroused masses. Long-repressed political memories are fueling in large part the sudden and very explosive awakening energized by Islamic extremists in the Middle East, but what is happening in the Middle East today may be just the beginning of a wider phenomenon to come out of Africa, Asia, and even among the pre-colonial peoples of the Western Hemisphere in the years ahead.

Periodic massacres of their not-so-distant ancestors by colonists and associated wealth-seekers largely from western Europe (countries that today are, still tentatively at least, most open to multiethnic cohabitation) resulted within the past two or so centuries in the slaughter of colonized peoples on a scale comparable to Nazi World War Two crimes: literally involving hundreds of thousands and even millions of victims. Political self-assertion enhanced by delayed outrage and grief is a powerful force that is now surfacing, thirsting for revenge, not just in the Muslim Middle East but also very likely beyond.

Much of the data cannot be precisely established, but taken collectively, they are shocking. Let just a few examples suffice. In the sixteenth century, due largely to disease brought by Spanish explorers, the population of the native Aztec Empire in present-day Mexico declined from 25 million to approximately one million. Similarly, in North America, an estimated ninety percent of the native population died within the first five years of contact with European settlers, due primarily to diseases. In the nineteenth century, various wars and forced resettlements killed an additional 100,000. In India from 1857 to 1867, the British are suspected of killing up to one million civilians in reprisals stemming from the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The British East India Company’s use of Indian agriculture to grow opium then essentially forced on China resulted in the premature deaths of millions, not including the directly inflicted Chinese casualties of the First and Second Opium Wars. In the Congo, which was the personal holding of Belgian King Leopold II, ten to fifteen million people were killed between 1890 and 1910. In Vietnam, recent estimates suggest that between one and three million civilians were killed from 1955 to 1975.

As to the Muslim world in Russia’s Caucasus, from 1864 and 1867, ninety percent of the local Circassian population was forcibly relocated and between 300,000 and 1.5 million either starved to death or were killed. Between 1916 and 1918, tens of thousands of Muslims were killed when 300,000 Turkic Muslims were forced by Russian authorities through the mountains of Central Asia and into China. In Indonesia, between 1835 and 1840, the Dutch occupiers killed an estimated 300,000 civilians. In Algeria, following a fifteen-year civil war from 1830 to 1845, French brutality, famine, and disease killed 1.5 million Algerians, nearly half the population. In neighboring Libya, the Italians forced Cyrenaicans into concentration camps, where an estimated 80,000 to 500,000 died between 1927 and 1934.

More recently, in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989 the Soviet Union is estimated to have killed around one million civilians; two decades later, the United States has killed 26,000 civilians during its fifteen-year war in Afghanistan. In Iraq, 165,000 civilians have been killed by the United States and its allies in the past thirteen years. (The disparity between the reported number of deaths inflicted by European colonizers compared with the United States and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan may be due in part to the technological advances that have resulted in the more productive use of force and in part as well to a shift in the world’s normative climate.) Just as shocking as the scale of these atrocities is how quickly the West forgot about them.

In today’s postcolonial world, a new historical narrative is emerging. A profound resentment against the West and its colonial legacy in Muslim countries and beyond is being used to justify their sense of deprivation and denial of self-dignity. A stark example of the experience and attitudes of colonial peoples is well summarized by the Senegalese poet David Diop in “Vultures”:

 

 

In those days,
When civilization kicked us in the face
The vultures built in the shadow of their talons
The blood stained monument of tutelage …

 

 

Given all this, a long and painful road toward an initially limited regional accommodation is the only viable option for the United States, Russia, China, and the pertinent Middle Eastern entities. For the United States, that will require patient persistence in forging cooperative relationships with some new partners (particularly Russia and China) as well as joint efforts with more established and historically rooted Muslim states (Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia if it can detach its foreign policy from Wahhabi extremism) in shaping a wider framework of regional stability. Our European allies, previously dominant in the region, can still be helpful in that regard.

A comprehensive US pullout from the Muslim world favored by domestic isolationists, could give rise to new wars (for example, Israel vs Iran, Saudi Arabia vs Iran, a major Egyptian intervention in Libya) and would generate an even deeper crisis of confidence in America’s globally stabilizing role. In different but dramatically unpredictable ways, Russia and China could be the geopolitical beneficiaries of such a development even as global order itself becomes the more immediate geopolitical casualty. Last but not least, in such circumstances a divided and fearful Europe would see its current member states searching for patrons and competing with one another in alternative but separate arrangements among the more powerful trio.

A constructive US policy must be patiently guided by a long-range vision. It must seek outcomes that promote the gradual realization in Russia (probably post-Putin) that its only place as an influential world power is ultimately within Europe. China’s increasing role in the Middle East should reflect the reciprocal American and Chinese realization that a growing US-PRC partnership in coping with the Middle Eastern crisis is an historically significant test of their ability to shape and enhance together wider global stability.

The alternative to a constructive vision, and especially the quest for a one-sided militarily and ideologically imposed outcome, can only result in prolonged and self-destructive futility. For America, that could entail enduring conflict, fatigue, and conceivably even a demoralizing withdrawal to its pre-twentieth century isolationism. For Russia, it could mean major defeat, increasing the likelihood of subordination in some fashion to Chinese predominance. For China, it could portend war not only with the United States but also, perhaps separately, with either Japan or India or with both. And, in any case, a prolonged phase of sustained ethnic, quasi-religious wars pursued through the Middle East with self-righteous fanaticism would generate escalating bloodshed within and outside the region, and growing cruelty everywhere.

The fact is that there has never been a truly “dominant” global power until the emergence of America on the world scene. Imperial Great Britain came close to becoming one, but World War One and later World War Two not only bankrupted it but also prompted the emergence of rival regional powers. The decisive new global reality was the appearance on the world scene of America as simultaneously the richest and militarily the most powerful player. During the latter part of the twentieth century no other power even came close.

That era is now ending. While no state is likely in the near future to match America’s economic-financial superiority, new weapons systems could suddenly endow some countries with the means to commit suicide in a joint tit-for-tat embrace with the United States, or even to prevail. Without going into speculative detail, the sudden acquisition by some state of the capacity to render America militarily inferior would spell the end of America’s global role. The result would most probably be global chaos. And that is why it behooves the United States to fashion a policy in which at least one of the two potentially threatening states becomes a partner in the quest for regional and then wider global stability, and thus in containing the least predictable but potentially the most likely rival to overreach. Currently, the more likely to overreach is Russia, but in the longer run it could be China.

Since the next twenty years may well be the last phase of the more traditional and familiar political alignments with which we have grown comfortable, the response needs to be shaped now. During the rest of this century, humanity will also have to be increasingly preoccupied with survival as such on account of a confluence of environmental challenges. Those challenges can only be addressed responsibly and effectively in a setting of increased international accommodation. And that accommodation has to be based on a strategic vision that recognizes the urgent need for a new geopolitical framework.

_____

The author acknowledges the helpful contribution of his research assistant Paul Wasserman, and the scholarship on the subject of colonial brutality by Adam Hochschild, Richard Pierce, William Polk, and the Watson Institute at Brown University, among others.

Zbigniew Brzezinski is a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and was the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. He is the author, most recently, of Strategic Vision: America (2013).

Toward a Global Realignment

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The Broken Chessboard

Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire

by Mike Whitney

CounterPunch (August 25 2016)

The main architect of Washington’s plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinski’s article in The American Interest titled “Towards a Global Realignment” has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extend US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia. Brzezinski, who was the main proponent of this idea and who drew up the blueprint for imperial expansion in his book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997), has done an about-face and called for a dramatic revising of the strategy. Here’s an excerpt from the article in the The American Interest:

 

As its era of global dominance ends, the United States needs to take the lead in realigning the global power architecture.

Five basic verities regarding the emerging redistribution of global political power and the violent political awakening in the Middle East are signaling the coming of a new global realignment.

The first of these verities is that the United States is still the world’s politically, economically, and militarily most powerful entity but, given complex geopolitical shifts in regional balances, it is no longer the globally imperial power. {1}

 

Repeat: The US is “no longer the globally imperial power”. Compare this assessment to a statement Brzezinski made years earlier in The Grand Chessboard when he claimed the US was “the world’s paramount power”.

 

… The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed a tectonic shift in world affairs. For the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as a key arbiter of Eurasian power relations but also as the world’s paramount power. The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power.

— The Grand Chessboard (1997), page xiii

 

Here’s more from the article in The American Interest:

 

The fact is that there has never been a truly “dominant” global power until the emergence of America on the world scene … The decisive new global reality was the appearance on the world scene of America as simultaneously the richest and militarily the most powerful player. During the latter part of the 20th century no other power even came close. That era is now ending. {1}

 

But why is “that era is now ending”? What’s changed since 1997 when Brzezinski referred to the US as the “world’s paramount power”?

Brzezinski points to the rise of Russia and China, the weakness of Europe and the “violent political awakening among post-colonial Muslims” as the proximate causes of this sudden reversal. His comments on Islam are particularly instructive in that he provides a rational explanation for terrorism rather than the typical government boilerplate about “hating our freedoms”. To his credit, Brzezinski sees the outbreak of terror as the “welling up of historical grievances” (from “deeply felt sense of injustice”) not as the mindless violence of fanatical psychopaths.

Naturally, in a short 1,500-word article, Brzezniski can’t cover all the challenges (or threats) the US might face in the future. But it’s clear that what he’s most worried about is the strengthening of economic, political and military ties between Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and the other Central Asian states. This is his main area of concern, in fact, he even anticipated this problem in 1997 when he wrote The Grand Chessboard. Here’s what he said:

 

Henceforth, the United States may have to determine how to cope with regional coalitions that seek to push America out of Eurasia, thereby threatening America’s status as a global power. (page 55)

    … To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together. (page 40)

 

“… prevent collusion … among the vassals”. That says it all, doesn’t it?

The Obama administration’s reckless foreign policy, particularly the toppling of governments in Libya and Ukraine, has greatly accelerated the rate at which these anti-American coalitions have formed. In other words, Washington’s enemies have emerged in response to Washington’s behavior. Obama can only blame himself.

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin has responded to the growing threat of regional instability and the placing of Nato forces on Russia’s borders by strengthening alliances with countries on Russia’s perimeter and across the Middle East. At the same time, Putin and his colleagues in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries have established an alternate banking system (BRICS Bank and AIIB) that will eventually challenge the dollar-dominated system that is the source of US global power. This is why Brzezinski has done a quick 180 and abandoned the plan for US hegemony; it is because he is concerned about the dangers of a non-dollar-based system arising among the developing and unaligned countries that would replace the western Central Bank oligopoly. If that happens, then the US will lose its stranglehold on the global economy and the extortionist system whereby fishwrap greenbacks are exchanged for valuable goods and services will come to an end.

Unfortunately, Brzezinski’s more cautious approach is not likely to be followed by presidential-favorite Hillary Clinton who is a firm believer in imperial expansion through force of arms. It was Clinton who first introduced “pivot” to the strategic lexicon in a speech she gave in 2010 titled “America’s Pacific Century”. Here’s an excerpt from the speech that appeared in Foreign Policy magazine:

 

As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last ten years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next ten years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment – diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise – in the Asia-Pacific region …

Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology … American firms (need) to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia …

The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade. As we strive to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2015, we are looking for opportunities to do even more business in Asia … and our investment opportunities in Asia’s dynamic markets. {2}

 

Compare Clinton’s speech to comments Brzezinski made in The Grand Chessboard fourteen years earlier:

 

For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia … (page 30) … Eurasia is the globe’s largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions … About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for sixty per cent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources (page 31).

 

The strategic objectives are identical, the only difference is that Brzezinski has made a course correction based on changing circumstances and the growing resistance to US bullying, domination and sanctions. We have not yet reached the tipping point for US primacy, but that day is fast approaching and Brzezinski knows it.

In contrast, Clinton is still fully-committed to expanding US hegemony across Asia. She doesn’t understand the risks this poses for the country or the world. She’s going to persist with the interventions until the US war-making juggernaut is stopped dead-in-its-tracks which, judging by her hyperbolic rhetoric, will probably happen some time in her first term.

Brzezinski presents a rational but self-serving plan to climb-down, minimize future conflicts, avoid a nuclear conflagration and preserve the global order (aka the “dollar system”). But will bloodthirsty Hillary follow his advice?

Not a chance.

Links:

{1} http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/04/17/toward-a-global-realignment/

{2} http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/11/americas-pacific-century/

The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire

Categories: Uncategorized

The Term “Conspiracy Theory” …

… was Invented by the CIA in order to Prevent Disbelief of Official Government Stories

by Paul Craig Roberts

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org (August 24 2016)

Ron Unz reports on the cold shoulder given to an extensively researched book that concludes that World War Two hero General George Patton was murdered by the CIA because he became a powerful critic of Washington {1}.

The book was ignored because the US media and public have been programmed to regard the US government as a truth-teller and those who expose government crimes as “conspiracy theorists”.

In 2013 Professor Lance Dehaven-Smith in a peer-reviewed book published by the University of Texas Press showed that the term “conspiracy theory” was developed by the CIA as a means of undercutting critics of the Warren Commission’s report that President Kennedy was killed by Oswald. The use of this term was heavily promoted in the media by the CIA {2}

It is ironic that the American left is a major enforcer of the CIA’s strategy to shut up skeptics by branding them conspiracy theorists.

Links:

{1} http://www.unz.com/runz/was-general-patton-assassinated/

{2} https://www.amazon.com/Conspiracy-Theory-America-Discovering/dp/0292757697/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472198722&sr=1-1

Copyright (c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/08/24/the-term-conspiracy-theory-was-invented-by-the-cia-in-order-to-prevent-disbelief-of-official-government-stories/

Categories: Uncategorized

What Are the Odds …

… that the 2020 & 2022 Olympics will be Cancelled?

by Charles Hugh Smith

http://charleshughsmith.blogspot (August 22 2016)

 

It’s tough to pay for an Olympics when 95% of your supposed “wealth” has vanished.

In the modern era (1896~present), the Olympics have only been cancelled in wartime: 1916 (World War One), 1940 and 1944 (World War Two). But world war is not the only circumstance that could derail the Olympics; a global crisis in energy, finance or geopolitics could send the risks and costs of the Olympics beyond the reach of most participants.
The key to understanding the odds of an Olympic cancellation is Liebig’s Law of the Minimum {1}, which states states that “growth is controlled not by the total amount of resources available, but by the scarcest resource”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebig%27s_law_of_the_minimum

As I have outlined elsewhere, the three resources that will become increasingly scarce globally going forward are:

1. Geopolitical stability

2. Energy abundance (that is, abundant and affordable to the bottom 95%)

3. Financial/currency stability

A global scarcity of any of these three could sink the Olympics in 2020 and 2022. I’ve discussed the geopolitical, financial and resource risks in four recent posts:

http://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug16/food-crisis8-16.html

http://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug16/catch22-deep-state8-16.html

http://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug16/stagnant-wages8-16.html

http://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug16/long-game8-16.html

The current confidence that everything will remain stable for years to come is based on a misleading extrapolation of current trends. Just because the global status quo has managed to maintain a facade or normalcy for the past eight years does not mean the New Normal (central banks pumping $180 billion a month into the global financial system to keep it afloat) is identical with the pre-crisis Old Normal.

Seneca’s Cliff offers a more accurate model of reality: everything stays the same until it doesn’t. The slide down is much faster and more abrupt than the steady advance to the cliff’s edge:

The reality is the status quo has been forced to increase its interventions just to maintain the steady-state facade of normalcy. This constant increase of resources being devoted to prop up an unsustainable system is not consequence-free; the effort generates unintended consequences and increases the systemic risks.

The status quo must then ramp up its interventions and manipulations to compensate for the strains and risks breaking through the carefully managed facade of normalcy.

War is not the only possible disruptor of the 2020 & 2022 Olympics. Geopolitical tensions could rise to the point that boycotts effectively gut the Olympics. Global disruptions of energy (severe shortages and soaring costs) could put the Olympics out of reach for many participants – and of course these two risks are connected. Energy shortages and geopolitical conflicts go hand in hand.

A funny thing happens in a severe currency crisis: 95% of the phantom wealth suddenly disappears. The value of fiat currencies is established by a number of factors, but the primary one is demand for the currency, which is tied to participants’ trust that the currency will retain its current value (or appreciate) going forward.

Once that trust is lost, the downward spiral creates panic selling.
In the current narrative, central banks can always “save the day” by printing money or opening the floodgates of unlimited credit.

The problem won’t be a lack of currency or credit – the problem will be a scarcity of trustworthy collateral to back up the credit and currency. If the value of the collateral is impaired, the credit leveraged on the collateral will also be impaired.

In other words, a loss of faith in a currency cannot be reversed when faith in the central bank’s magical powers has also been lost. The dramatic decline in the purchasing power of Venezuela’s currency offers a modern-day example of what happens to phantom wealth in a currency crisis.

It’s tough to pay for an Olympics when 95% of your supposed “wealth” has vanished. To save face, the host nation may attempt a severely truncated Olympics with a few participants and mostly empty venues, but the reality will be visible to all: it would have been better to cancel the Olympics and avoid the embarrassment of a failed show crippled by scarcities.

What are the odds that the 2020 & 2022 Olympics will be cancelled (or completely distrupted)? A lot higher than most people think.

Of related interest:

* http://www.peakprosperity.com/podcast/100873/alice-friedemann-when-trucks-stop-running

* http://www.barrons.com/articles/stephanie-pomboy-a-grim-outlook-for-the-economy-stocks-1471670011

* http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-21/jeffrey-snider-all-signs-point-systemic-reset

 

http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.jp/2016/08/what-are-odds-that-2020-2022-olympics.html

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